Hitachi Plant Technologies Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, has plans to export systems that use solar power to produce drinking water. The company will sell systems that use electricity generated by solar panels to pump groundwater or seawater. The desalination process will be based on reverse osmosis technology.

Demand will be cultivated primarily among Asia-Pacific island nations, which tend to lack both electricity and drinking water. The first such systems are scheduled to be delivered to the small Pacific nations of Tuvalu and Nauru in January. Hitachi Plant will also provide management guidance and operational support.

Hitachi Plant in 2009 received an order from the United Arab Emirates to create an artificial ‘water hole’ in the desert as part of a project aimed at preserving the Arabian oryx, which is threatened with extinction. Solar power was used in that project because there were no other power sources in the desert, and desalination facilities were needed because desert groundwater has a high salt content. The company has used expertise gained on that project to develop the potable-water system.